By Gerald Nkisu Katayi

Chris Ewokor once wrote, “To be addressed as a Mr., Mrs. or Ms in Nigerian social circles means you are a no body. To be a mover or shaker you need to be a chief; or to at least hold a doctorate. Many prominent Nigerians including serving and past political leaders hold one title or another – either traditional, educational, professional or religious. And the trend for acquiring titles is not limited to the political elite. Now you even have armed robbers, corrupt politicians and all sorts of people being chiefs.”

This misconception of titles is not limited to Nigerians only; Africans love titles. To an African title hold a sense of mystery and attract attention. Zambians are also joining the culture of titles. The first president (KK) and second president Fredrick Chiluba are addressed as doctors. But without academic backup. The third president also earned himself the same title. I assume before Mr. Banda leaves office, he will be addressed as doctor. A younger generation in the names of Nevers Mumba, Saviour Chishimba and others are also following this vanity.

People even add things like Mr. “Engineer” to their name; it’s a kind of pomposity. Nelson Mandela, the “Iron lady” Margret Thatcher and President Bush Senior and many others have honorary doctorates; but are never addressed as “Dr.” The reason is honorary degree can not be used as an academic paper which carries title and privileges.

These titles are so pronounced in Zambia because many media institutions are Government controlled, the journalists who work in these institutions serve the interest of the politicians and addressing such as Mr. will seem demeaning. Yet those in private media just play monkey see, monkey do.

This phenomenon of title obsession has not left out the church in Zambia. Few years ago, we had pastors. With time pockets of bishops were ordained. Eventually, apostle and prophets mushroomed everywhere. Biblical and theologically it is correct to go by these titles where necessary. (Ephesians 4: 11-12). Nowadays however pastors are no longer prophets, bishops or apostles. These have become lower titles; the clergy are now going for “Dr.” or “Rev, Doctor).

A named Bishop of Lusaka for two years struggled to raise $2,000 to buy his honorary doctorate but a few months ago he got his paper. But academically, the Bishop is working on his bachelors. His sister a pastor as well goes by “doctor ” without academic credentials.

What are these men and women of God up to? This is a deception at its best, who is fooling who? Why should a man called of God add a phony title to that which is sacred? If doctorate title is desired why not go to school? These preachers love praise from men (John 12:43). They love to be called by prestigious titles.

Jesus rebuked Pharisees and scribes for they loved titles and desired attention from people. He said, “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted”. His disciples were not to seek to be called rabbi and were forbidden to use the word father indiscriminately. The general teaching is clear. They were not to seek man-exalting titles such as (Dr), rabbi, father, or minister to gain the recognition of men. Disciples of Christ should not exalt themselves but should seek to serve others and leave the exalting to God Himself.

[Read 23 times, 1 reads today]
Loading...

64 COMMENTS

  1. I know one rev who is found in bars on Sunday mornings who now calls himself Dr. Maya mwandi.

    0

    0
  2. Great article and right to the point.

    Is COZMO Mumba a “Dr” and the media in Zambia addresses him as “Dr ” where did he get his Doctorate, honary or academic. I hear also that Traditional Healers , Bashi Nganga, can also add Dr as a title to their name. Can some help me with the answers to these.

    0

    0
  3. Well as we already know about the so called men of God today, they have many interests and to keep their interests flourishing, they need those titles to meet and mingle with the elite group. For many years some people have been doubting the credibility of these men, but who can question them to find out why they desire to be referred to as docs or revs. They are business men and they need to carry a certain title to show their status in society. But as the author wrote, who are they fooling? They are simply fooling themselves and those that follow them, because they are blind and have fallen short of the glory!

    0

    0
  4. And sometimes it is confusing. It is like a white man naming himself, Musonda Chapeshamano, and a blackman the opposite. Very stupid isn’t it.

    0

    0
  5. Some of these “docs” do not even know what a research proposal is, let alone presenting it before a panel of professors. Let us ask all those who claim to have “earned” their PhDs to show us their theses, or at least direct us to universities where we can find them.

    0

    0
  6. IT IS NOT THE TITLE THAT MATHER BUT ONE’S ABILITY TO DELIVER GOODS AND SERVICES TO “THE LITTLE OF OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS” IN THE WORLD.I HAVE MET PEOPLE WITH TITLES DRS AND NAME THEM WHO ARE IMPOTENT .THEY HAVE NOT PRODUCED ANYTHING TO SOCIETY.

    0

    0
  7. Atleast i am humble enough to have only 2 to 3 bachelors degrees, the minimum suggested educational requirement to stand as presido.I can readily tell you the universities where i acquired them, when my memory saves me right at some point, thankyou. I do not claim to have a Phd or being a doctor….

    0

    0
  8. Why are we going to be replicating the same story, word by word, which was on ZWD a few weeks ago?

    0

    0
  9. Ba Katayi, good article, but the headline and the conclusion is not the same, you have concluded as though your title was ” the clergy and their titles”. However, I agree with you on this title syndrome it just shows that we are still suffering from the inferiority complex. By did way did you kanow that Obama is a professor, but here we address them as professor Luo, professor Lungwangwa….. something wrong

    0

    0
  10. well zambians are dull fulu stop, even if a zambian is a doctor no point in addressin him as one! mwalipwalala ama zambians, am not zambian anymore

    0

    0
  11. Its true esp these so called pastors who are basically businessmen. Most of them are G12 failures surprisingly dubiously they are called doctors & bishops. I know one in Emmasdale who has become so fat coz of free donations. He is called bishop doctor but doesnt even know how a corner of a university looks like. All they do is arrange with friends in Nigeria or Ghana & they come bless them as bishops. Shame to these liars.

    0

    0
  12. When they happen to be a dispute among followers of Jesus as to who was great.Jesus said all you are brothers, hence now days why do these blind guides opt for titles?addtionally followers of Jesus must disown themselves.

    0

    0
  13. Save for medical doctorz, titlez are mostly left to academicianz and are a matter of preference to the others. I don’t see any crime in assuming the “Dr” or “Prof” prefix before a name if you are qualified or indeed just legitimately honored az such.

    0

    0
  14. In Zambia, politics has made PhDs to look absolutely useless in the eyes of people. To illustrate, one Dr was employed from a University to work in the ministry of finance as perm-sec. His position was abused to allow Golden Mandandi and Machungwa to steal 2bn zmk meant for Mansa Luwingu road; had he stuck to his professional ethics, he could have refused to be used. Where is the fella today? The second Dr is the current minister of finance, he truly knows that developing a nation takes own resources, not that of borrowed ones because the public will paying too high a price through interest rates; alas, he is busy facilitating the funding of projects all over Zed to ensure that MMD can win elections next year.

    0

    0
  15. The examples given in #16 are but a tip of the iceberg. Had these professionals resisted political interferance in their execution of duties, as was the case in KK’s presidency, the value of a PhD would still be higher in the eyes of the public. There are many PhD holders, who feel so ashamed to speak about Zambia because they are never listened to. The government even goes on to boast that they have “no experts” in certain fields, just because they dont want expert opinion that will go against political expedience. This is the dilema lawyers will be facing for years to come. Personally, because my PhD was such a tough addition to my list of qualifications, I am so proud of it, because it has made me internationally employable, and will work in Zambia as an expatriate very soon!!

    0

    0
  16. # 17 continues: the lesson for the educated, with or without a PhD: please use your professional ethics. To be poor materially is painful, but to abuse your profesional ethics to support a wrong cause, especially that of political support, is more painful. Kaunda trained a lot of people who should be helping the masses in benefiting from the country’s resources. However, because of greediness, short sightedness, we have allowed politicians to “engineer” the destiny of Zambia to our own peril. We are to blame for all the mess we are experiencing.

    0

    0
  17. I think the worse cuprit are chuch pipo. Coz these are the ‘lest educated’ in society and just want to get what they missed. Also some church pipo just want to be above every congregant in every way….nice article

    0

    0
  18. Am very alive to the fact that not only Zambian, but even Chinese are addressed as such Dr Hu, Dr Li, Dr Chu, Dr Do, Dr So ……. Ok whats about Indians (palm readers) who like to address themselves as “Professor”
    I guess its not only Zedians!

    0

    0
  19. I do not think there is anything malicious if a doctorate is obtained through academic achievements. We have genuine doctors like Chituwo,Chongwe and others. These people,we have a track record about there professional qualification.I feel honourally doctorates should be dispensed with because they do not add value to modern society. They are not an encouragement to young ones. When a degree is obtained genuinely,I feel it becomes a source of inspiration to the upcoming generation of academicians.We should not confer doctorates on people who cannot articulate issues properly. It should be given to people with outstanding and distinguishable academic achievement.One of the former president had dubious credentials and a doctorate was confered on him.What a waste!

    0

    0
  20. Apapena walasa. Cosamo Mumba, Nevers Mumba, Joe Imakando, Joshua Banda, Keneth Kaunda, FTJ Chiluba, Danie Pule Shikapwashya and others should bring their thesis we want to see them. Not thesis from Matero University.

    0

    0
  21. Hahahahahaha Kekekeekeke Lol. Apapena walasa. Cosamo Mumba, Nevers Mumba, Joe Imakando, Joshua Banda, Keneth Kaunda, FTJ Chiluba, Danie Pule Shikapwashya and others should bring their thesis we want to see them. Not thesis from Matero University.

    0

    0
  22. #19,PanAfricanist, its not all the church people, please do not generalize. Catholic priests are some of the most educated people in the world, apart from the many years they spend learning philosophy and theology, they also have qualifications in every field conceivable, engineering, medicine, arts,education,economics etc.

    0

    0
  23. Zambians misunderstand these issues to the point where any riff raff may be referred to as doctor. Three of our four presidents presidents insisted on being called doctor without any need and the media obliged. People like Gordon Brown possess real doctorates but are not even addressed as such. Honorary doctorates are bestowed upon high achievers in recognition of their achievements. If these achievements are genuine, they wouldn’t need to be called doctor to gain respect.

    0

    0
  24. # 21 very correct. These dubious honorary doctorates have diluted the value of a PhD. Even hard workers are now becoming lazy to pursue doctorates genuinely coz every gim & jack esp from these tuntemba born or die again churches also use the same title without any qualifications. Its true there are many false prophets in these churches now. They even claim to perform miracles but up to now many church members are still lame. Pipo dont just say amen 2 everything, no wonder bakabolala na bafula muma churches coz pipo are dull they cant question certain things.

    0

    0
  25. Jesus christ – a man who separated history into BC and AD, Yet without no list of degrees behind or before his name.

    0

    0
  26. These same fake pastors cheat pipo that they would become rich when they give them money. But what we see is that its only them (pastors) who become so fat & stinking rich & can afford 2 buy hammers with cash while u poor church members continue waiting in vain. Open yo eyes u so called christians. Riches come by hard work & not simply by putting money in an envelop & giving it a fat pastor who then builds houses which u even end up renting without knowing. Imagine if becoming rich was as simple as putting money & giving e.g Imakando, how many poor pipo from shantis would be driving hammers by now. But what do we see? I leave it 4 pipo 2 judge.

    0

    0
  27. Nkisu Katayi,

    Well articulated. Incessant embarrassment is from on the Church which has been evaded by scoundrels, nincompoops and sexual maniacs. Case at hand is what recently came out of the state of Texas where it all blew out on a Bishop; Dr. Apostle Alidor Longwa with his Nigerian acquired and dressed up titles though a school dropout Congolese with a cooked lamba identity acquired through second wife Glenda Chinemba Longwa. He has gone berserk on sexual predatory. Single and stranded Zambian girls chasing for husbands are being seduced that he can deliver them husbands by a process of having se.xual inter.course with him first and putting salt in their private parts. He uses titles to evade any questions and doctrinal challenges. Titles are winning respect of daft girls.

    0

    0
  28. Even the infamous now 15 year serving incarcerated Natheniel Tumbwe who unleashed his Weapon of Mass Destruction on American women in the church during home cell prayers meetings, was also carrying these dressed up titles of Dr. prophet, elder and Reverend. Did Jesus or Paul the apostle most educated one carry any of such titles? Scoundrels have evaded the church. Unfortunately its now a case of cancer in the church beyond politicians.

    0

    0
  29. Painful reality in the Zambian context,is the more one gets educated the more greed one becomes…seminars,aimless foreign travels,commissions and the list is endless.

    0

    0
  30. everyone in zambia wants these lofty titles/qualifications and yet we still remain one of the least developed nations in the world.

    0

    0
  31. Well, I agree on the pomposity, but I do not agree that it is an African thing. In UK, knighthoods, baronetcies, dukedoms etc are highly sought after titles. I think that the author should actually go into the history of the term ‘doctor.’ In the English and Scottish surgical colleges, the title ‘Mr’ replaces ‘Dr’ when a medical practitioner qualifies as a Surgeon. In short, what is in a title?

    0

    0
  32. 37, you are so right. I guess the only difference is that, apart from those born with titles, most people who reserve them are well deserving. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about most of our brethren who acquire these titles.

    0

    0
  33. Dr rev chakuti………………………Greedy, selfish, womanizers, thief hiding in the name of God etc.
    Dr of law…………………………….busy twisting zambian laws
    Dr of medicine……………………..serial killer,enjoys shooting people
    Dr minister of. finance……………no principles, thief, bootliker, busy sucking zambian blood
    Dr former president……………….the worst, include all the above.

    0

    0
  34. i nearly appreciated the author of this article for raising some of his concerns e.g discouraging people from misusing academic titles, encouraging people to go to school to earn their titles, and asking people to be humble, etc, but i changed my opinion even before finishing reading his article. he has to do abit of homework on the usage of scriptural passages to back up an argument. moreover, he has to research on why a catholic priest is refered or rather called FATHEER.

    0

    0
  35. #41 “On why Catholic priests are called fathers”. The author is not against that. What is in the article is…”were forbidden to use the word father indiscriminately”. And he continues…” The general teaching is clear.” What he is saying is that not every one should have these titles but those who deserve it…Sober up bro, read in between the lines. Get the fire leave the smoke.

    0

    0
  36. This must apply to alot of other Titles. Was in a pub the other day when a Civilian Pilot in an Airline introduced himslef as Captain Kabudula Matako!! (Not his real Name) He has never been in the army or airforce but is an Airline Pilot. This should surley be an offence in my understanding!!!

    0

    0
  37. On “This misconception of titles is not limited to Nigerians only; Africans love titles. To an African title hold a sense of mystery and attract attention. Zambians are also joining the culture of titles. The first president (KK) and second president Fredrick Chiluba are addressed as doctors. But without academic backup. The third president also earned himself the same title” it is annoying that non-entities like Mr Chiluba FJT take pleasure in being addressed as ‘Dr’ when real achievers like Ba-Maureen Mwanawasa find it prudent to restrain the media from referring to them as ‘Dr’ Maureen Kakubo Mwanawasa.

    I hope, our young Zambians will be motivated to become real PhD holders as opposed to ‘fake Dr’ titled kaponyas like FJTC.

    Be blest all.
    _
    Matt 6:33 But seek ye…

    0

    0
  38. instead of rubbishing them all, why not give honour where honour is due. While other cultures encourage high achievers, it surprises me that in some countries when one becomes successful, he is either a satanist or a crook. Look, in Ghana for instance, you just don’t leave school at form 5 level. For them University is a must. I am therefore not surprised that NASA, the UK treasury, Microsoft, the UN has had Ghanaians in high positions. Only because they would rather the whole country had people with doctorates if possible.Yes, currently, Doctorates can be bought on the net but instead of being so negative and rubbishing them all lets salute the hard working people who have them weather it is the clergy or otherwise. Especially those with academic doctorates and allow them to use the…

    0

    0
  39. @ # 40… you definitely qualify to be called Dr. Jokes/Comedian. You have cracked my ribs.
    @ # 46– i fully support you in terms of praising those who got their titles through hard work… and I mean hard work through meaningful studies and not the internet type of degrees. Speaking of titiles every Zambian who drives has a PHD because one can not drive on our roads without avoiding to drive through a Pot Hole.

    0

    0
  40. #24. I AM NOT A CATHOLIC BUT YOU ARE VERY RIGHT. CATHOLIC PRIESTS ARE HIGHLY EDUCATED. IN FACT MOST OF THEM DO HOLD ACADEMIC PhDs. BUT AGAIN THEY ARE SOME OF THE MOST HUMBLE PRIESTS I HAVE EVER COME ACROSS. THERE’S NO CATHOLIC PRIEST WITHOUT A DEGREE. AND DESPITE THEIR EDUCATION THEY CAN DO ANY MANUAL WORK- GARDENING, CARPENTRY, CLEANING, PLUMBING- NAME IT, THEY ARE SIMPLY HANDS-ON.

    0

    0
  41. ALL MY LECTURERS I HAVE HAD AT UNIVERSITY ARE PhD HOLDERS. BUT, THERE IS NEVER A DAY ONE STUDENT OR THEIR FELLOW LECTURERS CALL THEM Dr. ONE WHO TAUGHT ME COMUTER SYSTEMS ARCHTECURE EVEN INSISTED TO BE CALLED BY HIS FIRST NAME. MAINLY, ITS STUDENTS FROM AFRICA AND OTHER FEW THIRD WORLD COUNTRY WITH THE HABBIT OF CALLING LECTURERS, DOCTOR. BECAUSE, THEY COME FROM PLACES WHERE THEY ARE BULLIED INTO DOING SO.

    0

    0
  42. I MUST VERY HONEST WITH THE GENERAL BLOGSHIP- I DO NOT ADMIRE MOST OF THE PhDs HELD BY AFRICANS. THEY ARE MARRED BY UNPROFESSIONAL, UNETHICAL, CORRUPT, BRIBERY, THIEVERY CONDUCTS. TAKE FOR INSTANCE- WHO WOULD ADMIRE THE DOCTRATE DEGREES HELD BY THOSE WHO SAT THE NCC COMMITTEE? THEY ARE VERY UN PRINCIPLED AND UN PROFESSIONAL. I WOULD ADMIRE PhDs HELD BY GORDON BROWN, BARRACK OBAMA, ETC.

    0

    0
  43. Gentlemen, lets face the fact. In my case, I came to suffer fo 4 years (leaving my family) just to obtain my PhD and then once I get that title, I wouldn’t want someone to call me Mr. X. Then why did I go to sch to suffer? I need that prestige when I am in the bar and people are calling Doc. There should be that distinction between higher achivers and lower achivers or PhD holders and craft certificate holders. If they don’t me Dr. X, you can’t tell the difference between me and sikapwasha. There should be that difference and I would insist that they calll Dr.X.

    0

    0
  44. Put simple,Jesus being the second in command from God did not want to be called all sorts of titles.He was refered to as RABBI meaning teacher.Africans why cant we be plain and simple instead of trying to be complex and sophisticated.

    0

    0
  45. # 58 thats funny.A guard calling himself Field marshal. Or any one calling himself architect Bwalya, Accountant Sakala, book keeper Tembo , watch repair Musonda, referee Peter, Bicycle repair Timothy. Crazy!

    0

    0
  46. I used to be Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, Life President…but definitely a medical Doctor. I can point you to the university where I obtained my academic degree. I am not like “Dr” Nyerere; “Dr” Kaunda; “Dr” Chiluba; “Dr” Nkrumah. Mine was a genuine.

    By the way, does the world realise that Mandela could easily hold the title of one person with the most honorary doctorates? One of these is even from UNZA….He has never allowed anybody to call him Doc.

    0

    0
  47. I love my country. The only country in the world to be ruled by doctors in succession. Can’t wait to call my beloved Lupiya Banda, Dr Banda. He will earn his by amassing too, too many flying hours.

    0

    0
  48. The subject of honorary degrees is very controversial. Some universities grant honorary degrees in exchange for large donations. Most honorary degree recipients, particularly those who have no prior academic qualifications, insist on being called “Doctor”. This honorific as a result of their award, misleads the general public about their qualifications. Engineers in Zimbabwe by an act of parliament are addressed as Engineer X, the X being the surname. In Zambia this practice is not wide spread although it is supported by an act of parliament and is limited to seminars and workshops organised by EIZ.

    0

    0

Comments are closed.